Mark Eastwood MP: The Howland Centre needs your support

​​If you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll have seen that earlier this month I finally completed my tandem paraglide in aid of our amazing local charity the Howland Centre, based in the centre of Dewsbury for over 60 years.
Mark Eastwood MP and Sam Cullingworth at Howlands Centre.Mark Eastwood MP and Sam Cullingworth at Howlands Centre.
Mark Eastwood MP and Sam Cullingworth at Howlands Centre.

Mark Eastwood MP writes: Although it was terrifying to leave the ground and fly over Marston Moor with just fabric and wind keeping me in the air it was a great experience, just like my skydive a few years ago. Getting to do death-defying stunts in aid of a good cause is a brilliant perk of being your Member of Parliament, but as fun as it is to try new things, I want to use the profile I have as your MP to raise the profile of organisations that need our help.

Since the pandemic, our local charities have been more in demand than ever, but for small charities like Howlands who don’t have big national donor pools and corporate tie-ins to keep funds coming in, the squeeze that we’re all feeling at the moment hits hard.

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I’ve seen for myself the work that Howlands does, with people who really need the support they offer – giving dozens of Dewsbury’s most marginalised and isolated people a social lifeline brings enormous value to our town. Without them, there would be even more strain on our local authority services, which – as we know – are already spread very thinly. The human interaction offered in their arts and crafts sessions, and the wider support that they give to people who need a hand to cope with the challenges of life is invaluable.

In a perfect world, charities like Howlands would have the funding they need without question, but the harsh reality is that budgets everywhere are tight, and needs everywhere are high.

Like many charities, I know that Howlands applies for grants – sometimes these are available from government, and sometimes from philanthropic organisations or funds like the National Lottery.

These grants can provide a great deal of security for charities, but often even a fairly large grant can still leave problems for an organisation without a steady income. Many grants are restricted to time-limited projects, or don’t cover operational costs such as rent, utility bills or crucially, staff wages.

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I’ve enlisted my team to help Howlands find new sources of support – MPs have access to information about new grants and opportunities and I’m making sure to pass on anything that can help.

In the meantime though, I know they need your help. Donating at the Centre or popping a few pounds on to the fundraising page could be the difference between keeping a brilliant community asset like Howlands working hard in our community or losing it forever.

I know our community is full of wonderful organisations who work incredibly hard for the causes they believe in. There is an army of fundraisers, volunteers, advocates and staff who go above and beyond their pay cheque to fill the gaps in society that just aren’t picked up elsewhere. Being your MP means I’m frequently lucky enough to meet them, and I never fail to be impressed at their dedication and commitment.

I’m always keen to hear about the people who keep our community thriving – if you’d like to tell me about them, or about any other issue I can help with, my team and I can be contacted at [email protected] or by phone on 01924 939 007

Thank you for reading.